Dr. Smruti Mandar Haval is from southern India and she has completed her education in M.B.B.S. D.N.B. in Family Medicine, She is also a Certified International Diabetic Educator
and a PGD in Geriatrics and Diabetology.
What makes natural biodegradable pad brands, a better choice is that they do not contain plastic. Since these pads are made with bio-based, natural and compo-stable ingredients, they can break down much faster than conventional plastic pads, even in a landfill.
Now, can you imagine how difficult it must be for our planet to deal with the thousands of tonne of waste materials that have been accumulated over the years now, not allowing it to breathe?
We are aware that, for as long as the human race exists, the generation of waste materials will also exist. So, what we can do is focus on reducing the amount of waste, while also trying our best to develop products that can generate biodegradable waste.
This will allow our planet to breathe and prevent the accumulation of toxic materials and non-biodegradable pollutants that do not decompose for hundreds of years. This is where proper solid waste management systems come into play. Keep reading to know more:
The Fundamental Problem And Its Solution
What’s keeping organizations from adapting and implementing effective solid management procedures? The answer to this question is quite simple, yet so complicated.
To begin with, solid waste management is a challenge because of the increasing amount of waste generation and the corresponding low budget allocations for various municipal corporations.
The lack of infrastructure also affects the organized segregation, collection and transportation of waste materials including menstrual and other sanitary waste.
In addition to these, solid waste management also requires efforts to raise the overall awareness of why we need to do this and how we can help the environment by doing so.
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What About Sanitary Pads?
‘segregation’ and ‘proper disposal’ have been the main obstacles concerning the management of the waste generated by menstrual products. Conventional sanitary pads contain up to 90% plastic and other petrochemical byproducts which remain unchanged in the landfill for around 600-800 years after disposal.
What makes natural biodegradable pad brands, a better choice is that they do not contain plastic. Since these pads are made with bio-based, natural and compostable ingredients, they can break down much faster than conventional plastic pads, even in a landfill.
Another issue that needs to be addressed in the same context is that, apart from the accumulation of waste in dump yards, the exposure of used sanitary pads can cause a series of serious health problems to the sanitation workers as it is easy for several germs and infections to culture on a bloody pad which is left out in the open.
This may lead to life-threatening health issues for workers in the long run.
Controlling The Damage
From our individual choices about what type of products we purchase and how we dispose of them, to municipal or national waste management systems that include large scale industrial material recovery facilities or landfills, we can see that waste generation is a process that cannot be avoided completely.
What we can do is try and bring in an effective waste management system from the time of
production to the consumption of various products. For instance, plastic-free and chemical-free Sanitary pads are made from natural and sustainable plant-based ingredients.
To ensure responsible disposal of used sanitary pads and to make segregation waste easier, some brands provide individual leak proof and odor resistant disposal bags made from corn based bio plastic with every pad.
This initiative is also aimed at reducing the risks of healthcare and sanitation workers who handle the waste after its disposal.
This can then be launched as a nationwide campaign that can lead to significant alterations in government policies such as introducing biomedical waste segregation, collection and transportation systems within local waste collection facilities.
We hope to encourage municipal waste collection systems to introduce a new category of waste in addition to ‘dry waste’ and ‘wet waste’ that can accommodate biomedical waste materials.
As the biomedical waste collection system evolves and segregation at source becomes more efficient, this category can be further divided into biodegradable and non-biodegradable bio-medical waste.
The biodegradable waste can be directed to industrial composting facilities and the non-biodegradable waste can be directed to solid bio-medical waste management facilities. This will help prevent the thousands of tonne of waste from going to a landfill thereby reducing the amount of waste that is being accumulated.
Advantages of biodegradable pads :
The biggest benefit of anything biodegradable is that we can compost it in our backyard, otherwise, it has to be sent to landfills (involving waste management workers, systems and elaborate processes).
In the case of biodegradable sanitary pads, it would be difficult for a house of 3 menstruating ladies to compost blood-soaked 48 (approximately 3 x 16 pads per month) in their compost at home.
This would be mixed with kitchen and other wet waste and will need looking after, not to mention the enormous amounts of space it will require for 6 months with the other pads that we will keep adding to it: 450+ pads at a point in time!
We are aware that the journey towards establishing a proper waste management system towards this purpose can be quite challenging. Nevertheless, we are sure it is going to be a fulfilling one. After all, it is for the greater good of our planet and its people in the coming years.